Adolescent alcohol abuse results in severe accidents, brain damage, and future alcohol addiction. Studies in offline, face-to-face, contexts show that interpersonal communication about alcohol influences alcohol consumption. However, as a result of significant changes in today’s interpersonal communication and media landscape, communication nowadays often takes place online. In particular, adolescents frequently visit Social Networking Sites (SNS), such as Facebook, and often post (i.e., place) alcohol-related content on these sites. A striking example is the NekNomination-trend, in which young people share binge drinking videos on Facebook, which has already resulted in multiple NekNominate-fatalities. The overall goal of this project is to understand the effects of alcohol-related SNS-content and reduce the negative effects of alcohol-related SNS-use. Three subprojects are proposed to achieve this goal.
First, the first subproject (I) fills an important research gap by examining the prevalence, characteristics, and motivations of adolescents who place alcohol-related content on SNS. Subproject 1 employs a survey among a large representative sample of Dutch adolescents, assessing who places alcohol-related content on SNS, how often, and why, thereby providing an important starting point for the subsequent subprojects.
Second, it is paramount to understand the effects of alcohol-related SNS-content on viewers. The second subproject (II) is the first to investigate the effects of different alcohol-related SNS-posts on viewers’ alcohol consumption, as well as underlying processes and (network-related) boundary conditions. A unique and innovative SNS-tool is exclusively developed for this purpose. By addressing these research-gaps, the first two subprojects provide an important leap forward in our understanding of online interpersonal communication in general, and alcohol-related SNS-use in specific.
Third, an intervention-plan is developed and tested during the third subproject (III) to raise awareness about and reduce the negative effects of alcohol-related SNS-use. Taken together, this innovative multi-method and multi-disciplinary project provides important new theoretical insights and societal benefits.
Below, you will see an example of an alcohol-related post.
Veni-project: Alcohol on Social Networking Sites
This project investigates how much and why young adolescents talk about alcohol on Social Networking Sites (SNS), as well as the effects of alcohol-related Facebook posts on young adolescents´ alcohol consumption and when these effects occur. Subsequently, an intervention-plan will be developed and tested to counteract the detrimental effects of alcohol-related posts on SNS.